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Best essays by the Winner, seven Shortlist Nominees, and thirty Finalists of the second annual Adelaide Literary Award Competition 2018, selected by Stevan V. Nikolic, editor-in-chief.

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Published by ADELAIDE BOOKS, 2018-11-29 12:47:17

Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018: ESSAYS

Best essays by the Winner, seven Shortlist Nominees, and thirty Finalists of the second annual Adelaide Literary Award Competition 2018, selected by Stevan V. Nikolic, editor-in-chief.

Keywords: literary competition,winners,essays,finalists

ADELAIDE LITERARY AWARD
ANTHOLOGY
2018



ADELAIDE LITERARY AWARD

ANTHOLOGY

2018

ESSAYS

Adelaide Books

New York/Lisbon

2018

ADELAIDE LITERARY AWARD ANTHOLOGY 2018
ESSAYS

Special Issue of the Adelaide Literary Magazine
September 2018

ISBN-13: 978-1-949180-57-2
ISBN-10: 1-949180-57-3

Adelaide Literary Magazine is an independent international monthly pub-
lication, based in New York and Lisbon. Founded by Stevan V. Nikolic and
Adelaide Franco Nikolic in 2015, the magazine’s aim is to publish quality
poetry, fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and photography, as well as interviews,
articles, and book reviews, written in English and Portuguese. We seek to
publish outstanding literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and to promote
the writers we publish, helping both new, emerging, and established au-
thors reach a wider literary audience. We publish print and digital editions
of our magazine twelve times a year. Online edition is updated continuous-
ly. There are no charges for reading the magazine online.

(http://adelaidemagazine.org)

EDITOR IN CHIEF / EDITOR-CHEFE
Stevan V. Nikolic

[email protected]

MANAGING DIRECTOR
Adelaide Franco Nikolic

GRAPHIC & WEB DESIGN
Joana Cardoso
Vesna Trpkovska

Published by: Adelaide Books LLC, New York
244 Fifth Avenue, Suite D27, New York, NY 10001

e-mail: [email protected]
phone: 917 477 8984

Copyright © 2018 by Adelaide Books LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any
manner whatsoever without written permission from the Adelaide Books
/ Adelaide Literary Magazine Editor-in-chief, except in the case of brief

quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Best essays by the Winner, seven Shortlist
Nominees and thirty Finalists of the second annual

Adelaide Literary Award Competition 2018,
selected by

Stevan V. Nikolic
editor-in-chief



Contents

THE WINNER
ON BEAUTY by Wally Swist  13

SHORTLIST WINNER NOMINEES
AN ASCENT

by Allison M. Palmer  19
RESILIENT LOVE
by Andrea Cladis  21

TIME AND THE PREDICAMENT OF ENRICHMENT
by Esteban Garcia  35

SCHINDLER’S LIST AT 25
by Robert Cardullo  95

PONDERING PROUST, RECALLING MOMENTS
by Joram Piatigorsky  109
COCKROACHES
by Ron McFarland  115
I WANT TO FEEL SAFE
by Susan M. Davis  125

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Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

FINALISTS
STUCK

by Allen Long  133
HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO WRITE A WAR POEM?

by Faleeha Hassan  139
BEING THERE

by Richard Schmitt  145
ART AND POETRY
by Byron Beynon  153

IMMEASURABLE GREATNESS
by Rachel A.G. Gilman  159
VANISHING
by Leslie Tucker  169
PYROMANIACS
by Janel Brubaker  179
THE TIME I GOT NAKED
by Ray Savoie  185
COVENANT
by Steven Sherwood  201
CHESTERFIELD ROAD
by Jason James  213
QUEEN STREET MISFITS
by Marilyn Duarte  225
LEFT OVER FROM EDEN
by Tara Shepersky  237
BIG MAMA’S PORCH
by Mattie Ward  241
THE LOSS OF HER
by Kimberly McElreath  245

8

ESSAYS

MY FATHER
by Paul Petruccelli  249
MY GRANDFATHER’S EYES
by Jeffrey James Higgins  257
BLANK STARE, NO PEACH FUZZ
by John Ballantine Jr.  261

CAKE WALK
by Richard Key  267

A BLIND NIGHT
by Sydney Samone Wright  271

NURSES IN TRAINING
by Katie Toskaner  279

STILL
by Raymond Tatten  283
AT LAW IN LEMON LAND
by Ellen T. Birrell  287

BABY RHINO
by Annina Lavee  299
WHITE CHRYSANTHEMUM
by Marianne Song  309
THE HOWL OF AN AMERICAN PSYCHO
by Vanya Suchan  315
REMEMBERING JOSE GUADALUPE POSADA
by Emily Peña Murphey  321

TRAMPED
by Jeffrey Kass  325

BUSIA JOSIE
by Donna Stramella  329

FIRST KISS
by Kevin Drzakowski  337

9



THE WINNER



On Beauty

By Wally Swist

Beauty is relative—however, it is also abundant and perennial.
One type of beauty may diminish and morph into a deeper
philosophical truth. Beauty can take the guise of morality and
define the outer reaches of what it means to be fully human—
to grow into that.

The film Amour, directed by Michael Haneke, which was
made in 2012 and won the Palme d’Or, is, ostensibly, all about
beauty and what is beautiful about life, as well as what are intrinsic
elements of living that may be seen as being opposite to beauty.
The film’s characters are a husband and a wife, two former music
teachers, in their twilight weeks and days. Jean-Louis Trintig-
nant is Georges and Emmanuele Riva is Anne. They are retired.
They are cultured. They read, go to concerts, enjoy each other’s
conversation, and still love each other—for the most part. Anne
once shocks Georges by saying, as wives often enough stun their
husbands by their appraisals of their characters, “You’re a mon-
ster sometimes.” However, she clarifies that declarative sentence
by adding: “But very kind.” That is beautiful.

After a lifetime of marriage to each other, Anne suffers
two strokes and Georges cares for her throughout her decline.
He bathes her, feeds her, exercises the leg on the side she can no
longer feel, practices speech therapy with her. Many men, or
wives, for that matter, would never have the wherewithal or the

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Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

courage to brave such lengths—of true amour. Georges may
be guilty of being a monster, in Anne’s experience, but he is
the precipitant in furthering the spark of beauty between them.
The drama may seem very French, something Camus or Sartre
would have taken delight in, with both Georges and Anne
seeing the end of their lives in plain sight; however, instead
of being grim, they rise above the end of life, in uncommon
transcendence. In their amour, and its tacit veracity—there
are several touching scenes regarding Georges physical care for
Anne, which are truly heartrending in their depth of humanity
and active loving—the viewer is offered the essence of what
love is and what having an affair is not. Hence, the irony in the
film’s title. In today’s world where greed, sex, and narcissism
are common, the beauty of Georges and Anne is exemplary
as not only a moral and cultural pedagogy without pedantry
but, quite aesthetically and humanely, one act of beauty after
another. Through another’s lens this might be seen as hardship
and turmoil, unimaginable spousal duty and death in life.

At the film’s end, without giving anything away, Georges
is clipping the flower heads from a bunch of daisies he has just
purchased at the florist. He fills the kitchen sink and scissors
the flowers into the water, then throws away the stems. These
are meant for his Anne. Often we need to practice the art
of discernment in order to see clearly. Sometimes we need
to ruin the flowered stalk to create a ritual for celebration.
As Anne says, in one scene, over dinner with Georges, while
looking through photograph albums, “It’s beautiful.” Georges
responds, “What?” Anne answers, “Life. So long.”

That is what constitutes perennial beauty and remains
beautiful. If we allow ourselves to discover the epiphany in the
commonplace in our lives, we realize, to our astonishment,
that all along, through every disappointment and affliction,
we can say, “it’s beautiful.”

14

ESSAYS

Wally Swist’s books include Huang Po and the Dimensions of
Love (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012); The Daode-
jing: A New Interpretation, with David Breeden and Steven
Schroeder (Lamar University Literary Press, 2015); Candling
the Eggs (Shanti Arts, LLC, 2017); and The Map of Eternity
(Shanti Arts, LLC, 2018). His poems and prose have appeared
in many publications, including Appalachia, Anchor: Where
Spirituality and Social Justice Meet, Arts: The Arts in Religion
and Theology, Commonweal, and North American Review.

15



SHORTLIST WINNER NOMINEES



An Ascent:
Considering the Shadows

of a Stone Staircase

By Allison M. Palmer

If the woods are haunted, but the forest merely enchanted by
shadows and soft light, into which realm does the stone stair-
case lead? And who will follow?

In a different era, as industrial wealth of the twentieth
century flowered into great family fortunes, workmen were
transported to a distant location and ordered to arrange a
pile of rocks. It was an interesting task. Their employers—
the founding fathers of our city—were determined to build a
grotto in what was then wildland, something of a monument
to affluence and ambition, a hint of things to come. Although,
at first glance, it seemed like nothing more than a curiosity,
the project had obviously been calculated, its site chosen with
something in mind; the location was a place set apart from
prying eyes and gentility, a place where the activities of a grotto
could go unchallenged and remain hidden—never to be seen
in newspapers or history books. Even now, long after the age of
discretion and propriety has faded, the grotto remains a signif-
icant destination. Although suspicion has given way to appre-

19

Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

ciation over the years, something of the original aura persists;
the structure still engages travelers as they explore pathways
and wander in the shallow woods.

Every aspect was designed with care. Gray and orange
rocks form not only a fount but also a series of walls and a stair-
case, steps that gently descend into an entanglement of oaks.

Allison M. Palmer is a municipal park ranger, writer and co-
pyeditor living in San Diego, California. She is currently the
editor of Footprints, the publication of the Japanese American
Historical Society of San Diego. Allison is also the founder and
director of the Palmer Memorial Humanities Library.

20

Resilient Love

By Andrea Cladis

Protective paralysis overwhelmed my body the day my Mom
was first diagnosed with cancer. I was fifteen years-old.

Resilience has as much to do with the body as it does the
mind. We have a physical attachment to this world and the
things it contains. The physical bond we have with our own
bodies determines how our nerve endings perceive the world
and experience life. Yet, what drives all of the physical sensa-
tions is our perception of what they are and how they feel. It is
our mind that determines our reactions to these sensations and
ultimately controls them. Sometimes they can be more intense
than others. And often they cannot be tamed as we wish. Resil-
ience is earned over time and through experience. If we are not
resilient in our minds or able to practice resilience through that
channel, we will not exhibit any sort of physical shrewdness
within our lives. Yet through faith, hope, and deliverance, we
can grow and persist.

Twelve years following my mother’s very involved and
traumatic breast cancer treatment, and fifteen years to the date
of her initial diagnosis, something went terribly awry. Perhaps
it was coming on slowly and we were all naïve to it. Or maybe
it happened suddenly, as our minds would like us to believe, so
we can avoid the blame of impending responsibility. But some-

21

Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

thing horrific happened. My mother woke up one morning
and the haunting scars across her chest were swollen and red.
The right side of her chest was much larger than the left and it
appeared a balloon was growing rapidly in her chest. Burdened
by this new pain and discomfort, the taut skin of her scars ap-
peared to frown as the swelling beneath her skin continued to
overwhelm the barren space on her chest. With each shallow
breath she took, she cringed and she cried. My mother, the
once all-courageous cancer survivor, was fearful.

“What’s wrong, Peter? What’s happening?” Mom pleaded
with my father, a physician, who always wished to deny the
reality of medical problems ever involving those he loved and
cherished.

“Honey,” he responded softly. “Let’s wait a few days and
see what happens. Perhaps it is swelling or aggravated tissue,”
he said.

“But this pain, this pain,” she replied. “I can’t handle this
pain.”

As I observed their exchange, witnessed Mom’s fear and
encouraged Dad’s embrace of her, I felt paralyzed. My mind
felt as though it lacked any capacity for resilience. My mother’s
pain, her fear, and the discussions of possible unknowns left
me in heightened state of unease.

The surgeon who had performed her double mastectomy
ten years prior instructed Mom, in her new condition, to wear
a sling to rest her left arm and restrict most movement through
her chest and upper body for a week. The hope with this mild
treatment was that perhaps the swelling would dissipate and
the pain would lessen if the tissues were not being consistently
aggravated by movement. I watched her, stubborn as ever,
not wanting to rely on anyone but herself for anything, doing
dishes and folding laundry with one hand, while her other arm
remained situated in a sling. She took to cooking and cleaning

22

ESSAYS

and making all sorts of phone calls. She was not exactly immo-
bilizing her chest. As I witnessed her obstinacy in movement,
however, my thoughts wandered to my high school years and
her original battle with breast cancer. The very same illness that
took her mother’s life was perhaps again re-surfacing in ours as
a sort of reincarnated plague.

I reminisced on the morning of her double mastectomy,
when my older brother was abroad studying in Guatemala,
my younger sister, in eighth grade, was at school because Dad
demanded she be near others that day, and I, in obedience and
anxiety, took the day off of high school classes to be with my
Dad. That very day I witnessed the strongest man I have ever
known weakened, falling to his knees in despair.

The decision at the time for Mom to undergo a mastec-
tomy, followed by an oophorectomy, hysterectomy, and more
chemotherapy medication was an unsettling, but we were con-
fident it was the right thing to do. We were informed that the
mastectomy would take place right after Christmas. At the
beginning of January, when my older brother left to spend his
college’s January term doing a service-learning trip in Guate-
mala he was reassured by my Mom that everything with the
surgery would go well. She didn’t want him to worry, and I
was amazed at how well she held it together as we said our
goodbyes at the airport.

My Mom’s mother lost her battle with breast cancer in
1995 and I was not at all prepared to lose my mother. Each
day as the surgery approached, we prayed together as a family.
Our nerves were mounting, sleepless nights endured, and fear,
overcome with worry, was our chief burden. Mom worked to
ready herself for the surgery and Dad, the doctor who knew
too much about her exact type of breast cancer, survival rates,
complications with surgery, etc., kept relatively quiet, but he
did not stop encouraging, loving, and praying for Mom.

23

Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

January 10th, 2008 was surgery day for Mom, and the
day when the culmination of fear, anxiety, and stress came
to a head. Through my father’s actions and reactions during
the day, I finally came to fully understand the meaning of re-
silience in love. Though Dad had considered working on the
day of Mom’s surgery, probably to distract himself from the
reality of the situation, and because he’s never missed a day of
work in his life, all of the other doctors and nurses he worked
with counseled him to take the day off. He needed to get some
distance from the hospital and not be confronted by people
he knew all day. My Dad knew the surgeon performing the
double mastectomy well and he was told he’d be updated as the
surgery progressed. The most important piece of information
my Dad was waiting for was whether or not Mom’s cancer had
spread into her lymph nodes and thus further into her body. If
the cancer, which was present in both breasts, had not spread,
my mother would have a much better chance of survival. But
if the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes, we all knew what
that meant, even though my Dad refused to say anything to
that effect.

That morning as Mom was undergoing a lengthy, seven
hour surgery, we sat together, Dad and me, at a breakfast diner
where we normally chowed down on stacks of fluffy pancakes
with sugary maple syrup cascading down the sides. Dad would
drink copious cups of coffee and I would complain of being
“stuffed.” But that day, we both sat in silence and stared at an
untouched stack of strawberry pancakes neatly dusted with
powdered sugar accompanied by an ice cream-sized scoop of
creamed, whipped butter. The pancakes were not very fluffy
and the powdered sugar did not dance on the heated plate as it
normally did. The syrup I tried to pour barely slid off the pan-
cakes. It looked more like molasses sludge than anything else.
Dad’s side order of rubbery sausage did not sizzle. The coffee

24

ESSAYS

was cold, without any wisps of steam. Gray hairs I had never
noticed before aggressively lined the crown of Dad’s receding
hairline. His watch battery had died and the clock face mocked
us at 9:05 AM. And it continued to do so for two hours of
empty stares, untouched pancakes, and a crusty, burnt piece of
uneaten toast that I compulsively smothered with orange mar-
malade. We both hated jam, especially textured marmalade.

When the check came, we remained motionless at the
table.

“Would you like a to-go box?” The waitress inquired.
Neither of us responded. She walked away, not expectant of
any form of tip from us. Waiting on a phone call from the
hospital regarding updates, Dad checked his watch.

“Still 9:05, kid. Did anyone call you?” The time warp
reminded it was perhaps too soon to know anything. I reached
into my pocket and pulled out my phone. It was nearly noon.
There had been no calls from any hospital or surgeon made to
my phone.

“Do you think Mom is going to be okay?” My teenage
pimples and near-anorexic body feared the worst. Dad opened
another little carton of marmalade and spread it onto the edges
of the same sad piece of burnt toast.

“Pray. All you can do is pray,” he said. I looked into his
oversized coffee mug. Still no steam, but for some reason I
expected there to be some. Instead, I saw the reflection of two
gaunt faces shattered by emotional anguish, suffering from a
most hollow devastation.

When we arrived home after our time at the diner, we
walked our dogs, who also sensed our tension, and continued
to wait. Pacing back and forth in our kitchen, shaking, crying,
holding hands with me and not knowing how to handle him-
self, Dad finally got the call he’d been waiting for all day. A
call he should have received by 12:00 PM and it was late after-

25

Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

noon. He picked up the phone. His face looked as though it
had aged ten years in one day.

“Yes. Okay. Thank you,” he said. “When will she be
done?” Tears immediately began streaming down my father’s
face as the disjointed conversation continued. I feared the
worst. I thought the dreaded news was now official. Dad hung
up the phone in silence. He didn’t say a word. My eyes started
watering and I sat motionless on the floor near his feet looking
at him to move his lips. I wanted him to say something, any-
thing! After taking a few wobbly steps forward, he fell to his
knees in the middle of our kitchen and sobbed uncontrollably.
I didn’t know if the news was good or bad, but I had only seen
my father really cry that way one other time in my life, which
was when he lost his father. I couldn’t help but cry when I
looked at Dad; it was good to relieve all of the pent up emo-
tions I had experienced that day.

Through somber eyes Dad finally looked up at me and
whimpered, “The cancer has not spread. There was only a mi-
croscopic amount in the lymph nodes on the right side, but
it has not spread to her body.” I wept with joy as Dad kept
saying, “Thank you, God, thank you, God, thank you God! He
pulled himself from the ground and with a surge of adrenaline
flowing through his body, literally started jumping for joy.
He bounded about the kitchen, picked me up and swung me
around, smiling and repeating, “Yes! Yes! Yes! Woo!” He filled
our house with shrieks of joyous, passion, and sheer, unbridled
emotion.

A few fist pumps later, he ran out the front door and
started doing laps around our home. He was overwhelmed by
elation, relief and the deep love and devotion he felt towards
my mother. I had never seen him respond to anything in such
an emotive way. I was incredulous. I cried for my mother. I
cried just watching my father and knowing how much he loved

26

ESSAYS

and cherished his wife. Seeing him react that day, I did not just
feel love or have the experience of love – I actually came to fully
understand what love is.

Love is not just the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when
your dog lies by your feet, love is not just the simple hug from
a friend at the end of a long day – love is not just pancakes in
bed on your birthday. Love is resilient. Love is an indescrib-
able emotion that transcends feeling. It is the quintessence of
compassion and the utmost desire of the human spirit to be
connected to others. On that cold, January day, I learned just
how much my father loves my mother. I learned how much
he needs, respects, admires and cares for her. She is everything
to him – a part of his world he cannot imagine being without.
In the spectrum of human emotion, love is perhaps the most
powerful and zealous one of all. No form of cancer can destroy
that love.



Folding my Dad’s socks and undershirts against the counter
with her right hand – a sling occupying the left – I told myself
that Mom needed me to be strong for her. Though it felt as if
no time had passed since I was sitting in that diner awaiting
her sentence, a lot of time had. My pimples were gone and
only faded scars remained in their place. Muscular develop-
ment from my work as a fitness trainer disguised my formerly
emaciated frame, and a few gray hairs had begun to surface
in my thick, brown hair. My brother was married and con-
sidering having children, while my sister had recently com-
pleted a doctorate in Physical Therapy. Dad was still lively,
but overworked and getting older. Mom looked shorter than I
remembered her to be and her shoulders hunched over further
than when I was in high school. Her face was thinner and the

27

Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

coloration of her skin was duller. Life had changed, but in
many ways we had not. The fearlessness I craved was nowhere
to be found. I did not want the doctor to again sentence my
mother to cancer.

Over ten years later and I felt the same child-like weakness
I had known the first time around. And this time I was not a
kid, but rather an adult-daughter. It was different. Mom could
rely on me in ways she could not before, but I felt helpless to
fix anything. Out of pride, Mom tried to refuse my help with
laundry or making dinner, or walking the dog, but I helped
where I could and as she would allow.

Mom’s condition gradually worsened and a few days later,
Dad ordered me to help more and informed me that I would
be attending an appointment with Mom at the local hospital’s
cancer center the following week. Baldness had absorbed the
place where those gray hairs once crowned Dad’s forehead. But
his affirmative tonality in speaking to me was exactly as it had
been ten years prior.

“You take care of your mother. You be here for her. Listen.
Be present. Do that for me,” he cried through cracked, tired
lips. He wanted me to fill in all the gaps where he fell short. He
wanted me to emotionally support Mom in ways he could not.
He wanted me to sacrifice my own work and obligations when
his were too demanding to neglect. For his shortcomings as a
husband, I was to fill in as her daughter. I could not replace the
role her husband needed to play no matter how hard I tried.
Mom needed me, but she needed him more. That fact would
never change.

The following week as I sat in the waiting room for nearly
two hours as Mom was being evaluated for her chest pain and
swelling, an enormous pocket formed in my own chest. I did
not want to lose my mother. I did not want her sentenced
again. Flashbacks taunted me and nerves made my stomach

28

ESSAYS

bounce uncomfortably. Mom and I were in the midst of plan-
ning my wedding. I needed her around. There was no way she
could be sick. This was not happening again.

When she returned to the waiting room two hours later,
I was informed that the results were inconclusive. Further tests
were ordered. I wanted to know what the doctors were doing
to her for those two hours, but rather than pester her with
questions, I distracted her thoughts with a discussion about
my latest graduate school project. Mom was always interested
in my school achievements. She had been in support of ed-
ucation my whole life. I drove her home listening to instru-
mental Christmas music on the radio. She was quiet. It was
early December and my Christmas present was a mother in the
passenger’s seat moaning in harrowing pain.

“Honey, can you make dinner tonight?” she asked, not
wanting to afflict me with the responsibility. “Can you prepare
something for Dad and your sister?” I saw her struggle to re-
linquish control as some care-taking was being placed on me
again. Mom was hurting and I quite simply, I was capable to
take care of things, but I was more than scared.

I steadied my quivering lip and cleared my throat. “I will
make dinner, okay? Don’t worry, Mom. Don’t worry.” She
closed her eyes and rested until we arrived at home.



It is mystifying the way our minds work in moments and in
flashbacks. In points of fast-paced movement and isolation.
Mornings of frozen pancakes and hours of waiting and then
ten years of gray-hair-producing-awareness that time has
passed. There was no mistaking that Mom and Dad had aged
during that time, but the feelings were all the same. I had to
be responsible for Mom’s well-being and that of the family. I

29

Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

had to make sure our family still had a Christmas. I had to step
up and grow up and be the adult I never wanted to be as an
innocent high school teen awaiting Mom’s sentence.

Driving to work in the dark at 5:00 AM the next day,
immersed in the silence of the morning, tears welled my eyes
and I thought of how all I wanted was to go back in time. I
wanted to go back in time to those family road trips that took
us to nearly all 50 states, to the young, healthy parents I took
for granted, the endless laughter, dinners with grandparents,
and the lack of any worry about money or bills, travel plans, or
if Santa was real or not. A swarm of warmth flooded my mind.
All of the moments that became the life memories Mom and
Dad had created for me and my siblings. And all of the time
I spent wishing to be older, wishing to grow up, and wishing
to do all the things I now despised. Those times with Mom,
Dad, and our family together were the best, most meaningful
moments of my life. They brought me to back to a place of
familial love and hope. I wanted it all once again. My hands
trembled on the steering wheel, but my tears dried as I focused
on the classes that I was scheduled to teach that morning.

Though I could not recognize it in that very moment – a
cold, dark Monday morning – it was all of those moments and
memories I recalled that had given me the resilience I needed
at that point in my life. That strength of our familial bond
of love had deep roots that would not be easily supplanted.
And that is what made me feel wholeness in the hollowness
of the almost frozen, day-old coffee that occupied my cup-
holder and sloshed around in my flittering tummy. The bliss
of the Christmas season was tangible, but the anxiety of the
unknown was upsetting. We recognize feelings through how
our minds perceive the moments of life we endure. The lesson
I am still learning is how to channel that perception towards
the creation of inner strength in the present moment.

30

ESSAYS

In the paralysis I felt after I finished work that day, I
remembered what a missionary friend of mine told me about
life and the continual struggle between joy and grief. She said
to me that we spend much of our lives balancing joy in one
hand and grief in the other. The metaphor worked well for
me. The joy, she explained, is to remind us of why we live.
The grief is what keeps us humble. So much of life involves
trial and struggle. God gives us an abundance of joy, but He
doesn’t promise us a life free from pain. It is our blessing and
our journey. And we have to delicately maintain that balance
to temper the sadness or grief while not forgetting about the
joy of life’s blessings. I was cradling both that Christmas, and
was prepared to give Mom some of the joy I knew she needed
to balance out the hefty weight of her own personal sorrow.

I blurred the lights on the Christmas tree at my parents’
home with my eyes each time I looked at it. It had been dec-
orated during an evening of agony, impatient argument, and
yelling. But through my mind’s eye, I only wanted to see the
delightful memories of past Christmases. That is of course
what they were there for. Firmly planted. Aptly welcomed and
received. You can’t have joy without sorrow. You can’t have
life without loss. In a strange way I felt that the Christmas tree
radiated the love of Christ my family needed.

Mom went for an MRI and other testing a week later.
Joy and grief were solemnly resting in equal balance when we
got the test results back. Mom’s sentence would remain un-
known. She would go for surgery to have her chest cut open,
cleaned out, and examined the week before Christmas. She was
a fighter and we would not let go of the hope, the love, and the
memories that knit our family together.

The fuzzy, polychrome lights on the tree gave me faith
that as God had done the past, He would grant Mom resilience
in mind and in body as she faced surgery and a period of re-

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newal in healing. And that Christmas, as Mom recovered, God
would once more gift our family newfound patience, grace,
and eternal understanding.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be
with you; and through the rivers, they shall not over-
whelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not

be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
(Isaiah 43:2)

Andrea Cladis, holds an MFA from Fairfield University and
is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Elmhurst College with
degrees in English Writing, Interdisciplinary Communica-
tions, French, and Secondary Education. A former journalist
and High School English teacher, she currently works as a
freelance editor, writing consultant, and fitness professional.
She has worked for Delnor Hospital’s Marketing and Public
Relations Department, for neighborhood magazines, and as
a feature writer for Shaw Media. She has been published by
SAGE Academic, The Greek Star, various literary journals, and

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ESSAYS

online publications including Thought Catalog, Elite Daily,
and Patch.com. She is also the author of Finding the Finish
Line: Navigating the Race of Life through Faith & Fitness
(CrossLink Publishing, 2017). She has written extensively for
online news websites, print magazines, local newspapers, and
social media blogs. Known for her local opinion columns,
Andrea’s writing has been described as “emotive, yet brazen,
seasoned with thinly veiled cynicism, and a pinch of sarcasm.”
Andrea is an Advisory Board Member for Cambridge Scholars
Publishing and maintains a personal site about faith, fitness,
and writing which can be explored at www.andreacladis.com.

33



Time and The Predicament
of Enrichment

By Esteban Garcia

The Universe

Everything in the universe has a counterpart and for every ac-
tion there is a reaction, and they can be in balance or unstable.
A duality that is the result of a three-dimensional universe
bound by mathematical relationships that give meaning to
the information, which can only be changed or transformed.
A permanent universe made of particles and a pressure and
similar repulsion that produce a predictable rate of decadence
and a tendency to balance, a performance we also know as
energy, gravity and matter. A structural integrity that is true
for all systems and consistent with the three parts atom and
determines the properties of the elements and a spectrum that
goes from heavy to light, solid to gas, uncompromising and
flexible, permanent and fleeting, slow and fast, a pace we also
know as time.

Time is not a predetermine line just like space doesn’t
fold, time is gravity and acceleration, a diminishing return
produced by space negation of energy, which produces a se-
quence that increase in frequency the smaller the event. With
space as the absolute the past remains fixed somewhere gener-

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ating a memory although the cause is constantly turning into
the effect, it is projected to the generalization. Starting from
the smaller scale time would seem to slow down until there is
no point of reference, the cycles become slower and there is
nothing to compare it with, big and small become one. Our
energy-time awareness is a matter of scales and quality, and a
performance that improves with society.

There is only a big permanent universe that changes little,
yesterday and tomorrow are patterns, one, two, three, four
can only have a relative relevance and reflect proportions, they
don’t have an inherent value and need points of references.
Time is normally restored in cycles (or statistical associations).
If you stretch the information it twists, and if you twist it ac-
celerates, if it accelerates it melts and if it melts it accelerates.
A Tension determines the interaction between the demand
and the capacity, meaning things tend to agglutinate and the
capacity generally chases the demand losing ground, moving
faster increases the time deficit.

Reaching down for and absolute and catching up with
itself defines time and everything else, generating pressures
and a diminished return that can produce an explosion. En-
ergy and time are generated by a capacity-demand coefficient
that shapes the information which in turn defines a quantity,
producing a moment with relative and absolute speed. These
are tension variations caused by structural parameters and the
absolute value of pi. Horizontal is a degree of certainty, you
cannot separate sideways; separation is always in an angle gen-
erating a deficit or demand, which is why movement comes at
an energy cost. The error is loss of traction and energy, slipping
or dismantling the information; concentrating on the wrong
subject, focus becomes friction and pressure. It is the necessary
contact and connections in the right areas that produce the
performance, the sensors, the legs and the functions; different

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ESSAYS

rhythms that through an evolution work together to produce
stability, which is the objective – This produced complex in-
dividuals very light and nimble in the group.

The tension generated between space and energy produces
the agglutination and binding connections, it can result in
many relationships and compromises. It generates energy cy-
cles below certain levels where pressure remains stable, which
means when not competing for essential resources but for a
mutual capacity, a predisposition also known as cooperation.
Above that level energy becomes uneven and the connection
breaks down, the capacity reduces and the demand goes up
until the system short circuits. The success of the species de-
pends on the ability to reduce conflicts, the more effective the
communications the more stable the platforms reducing the
energy fluctuations and friction. Competition at that level is
nothing but antagonism and corrosion.

Positive enrichment requires the potential that produces
the relaxation displacing the vertical acceleration and reducing
the interaction and “the cost”, which happens as the subject of
repetition reaches maximum possible certainty becoming the
object of repetition, although it doesn’t always produce more
certainty. These layers are defined by a pressure that generate
the patterns; first they accumulate information then start dis-
appearing as the parts become more uniform, then other layers
might start forming distending the tension until it stops or col-
lapses, going round and round in cycles. The energy cycles pro-
duce all kinds of relationships and have byproducts, excess that
is eliminated; gravity which life reflects through pain when the
energy lacks and the head can’t meet the tail, when the orbit
strays from a destiny. It produces the articulations and abso-
lutes, the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.

The universe is naturally in focus, so everything must be;
a minimum common denominator corresponding to the su-

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perlative system tying everything together. Everything that can
be “fixed” then is and agglutination happens within certain
parameter. Without the qualitative transformation which be-
comes increasingly rare with the variables energy only produces
a distortions of the information stretching and interrupting the
cycles, unnecessary movement and erosion. This vertical limit
or breaking point produces the black holes and other phe-
nomena in smaller scale; it produces different densities and the
rings of the tree, the atmospheric layers and the Earth’s strata.

The Antagonism is occurs when the action and the reac-
tion oppose each other, which causes the capacity and demand
reaction. It can generate resonance where the energy bounce
out, and a cycle when there is enrichment and a qualitative step
takes place. As long as there is traction the system is moving
forcing the performance to adjust until energy dissipates, gen-
erating the contraction; back and forth or in circular motion.
Random antagonism is the “error” or defects that life reduces
through trial and error, selecting the information to improve
communication and generate more certainty, concentrating
resources and reducing the energy which in turn reduces the
trial and error per-capita and the speed of the processes, which
also means friction is going down making it progressively more
loosely connected too, so the moment starts coming around.

Quality is traction, a change or movement caused by iso-
lating the repetition and displacing the ambiguities (outside),
definition determined by a trajectory and a historical devel-
opment, which is why information stays together and things
upright, and why the bigger the concentration of energy the
higher the tension that makes things move and spin, and the
lower the concentration the larger the volume (needed for sta-
bility). Everything in the universe is then caught in a balance
between precision and a momentum, context and friction, be-
tween the smallest point and the whole, a compact positive

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ESSAYS

and a fluid negative, mass and energy, setting up the structural
layers and agglutinating patterns. Everything becomes a dot
of a larger system and a whole of another located by a history
and itself caught between its smallest and largest parameters,
its properties and priorities. Movement reconciles the need
for focus and precision, for minimum certainty, it’s the com-
promise that yields the dominant and recessive and sets up
multiplication patterns, proportions, growth and bonding.

The behavior of a geometric sequence depends on a
common ratio, which expresses distance and the absolute value
of space. If the common ratio is:

• Positive (convex, or subject of repetition) the terms
will all be the same sign as the initial term.

• Negative (concave, hollow, object of repetition) the
terms will alternate between positive and negative.

• Greater than 1, there will be exponential growth to-
wards positive or negative infinity. (Unstable, chain
reaction)

• 1 (or pi) the progression is a constant sequence (bonds,
stable, neutral, no chain reaction)

• Between a1 and 1 but not zero, there will be expo-
nential decay towards zero (Infinite geometric series,
chain reaction, hooks, and perpetual contraction)

• a1, the progression is an alternating sequence (ideal
negative orbit, ties up, bonds)

• Less than a1, for the absolute values there is exponen-
tial growth towards positive and negative infinity. (Un-
stable, chain reaction)

Mathematical relationships generate a cone of certainty and
an algorithm. A place of relative stability fixes the trajectory as
the variables resume to one location or answer, the longer the

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Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

trajectory the more predictable the curve. A reaction negates
the pressure forcing the constant transfer of information and
producing the resistance, and a negative energy field that can
become a potential. It generates a capacity-demand reaction
that reduces the tension attempting to restoring symmetry and
disambiguates the information through a process of elimina-
tion, generating the cycles – As the elements get more complex
they can produce fewer variables.

The duality between the universal symmetry and energy’s
inherent antagonism generates movement, areas of stability
with negative and positive poles and correlating capacity/ de-
mand performances that establish the rhythm. Information
is internalized generating patterns producing matter and ar-
ticulations; energy and time become the result of a constant
pressure disambiguation. The significant information makes
it a structural development displacing the friction or a chain
reaction between the capacity and the demand that leads to
extreme polarization, sort of moving in the opposite direction,
unfolding or fading, it determines degree of certainty and vol-
atility - A potential is what is possible but still uncertain. It
could be energy or virtual knowledge.

It generates a tendency to efficiency, the 45 degree angle
of maximum certainty, the wheel and the learning curve,
meaning the friction that produces the grip on the environ-
ment causes the erosion, and aggregating value reduces the
friction and opens the scope. Life also has stability as the target
and reacts similarly to pressure, accelerating and fragmenting,
the environmental demand stimulates genetic processes that
introduce more variables and mutations and as stress is relieved
they slow down. The more specialized they become the less
energy needed, and it can carry on to a point of saturation
first, or balance. For life, also, the inability to meet the de-
mand is uncertainty which causes hyperactivity and erosion,

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ESSAYS

the vacuum of information that stretches the environment and
in excess breaks it apart. The universe disambiguates pressure,
life manages pressure to learn and buy time.

The algorithm is the result of a symmetrical three di-
mensional space with unique locations, one single shortest
distance between two points and energy’s duality. The stage
is set by the absolute value of pi, leaving us with a statistical
certainty, speed and the light spectrum, and the X factor. Em-
piric generalization and geometric reductions that generate
a capacity and an event horizon defining space and energy’s
properties. Mathematically as long as there is a conflict the
solution hasn’t been found, but the negation takes place on a
scale where movement becomes predictable and information
takes the path of least resistance, the shortest possible route
between point A and B. The polarization grabs and informa-
tion moves in both direction creating questions and answers
and subliminal pressures. The vertical displacement in the
loop generates the movement and a spiral, the more com-
pact and uniform the information the longer the trajectory,
like the DNA string, becoming exponentially shorter and fast
with each variable. The resistance is determined by the struc-
ture which is determined by pi, the angle closes with every
cycle because there is a diminishing return in the mass/volume
ratio, it cannot reach the absolute vertical line. The nucleus or
center of gravity should get ahead of the mathematical ability
to compensate, sustain a volume.

The antagonism and decadence are inversely related to
the degree of certainty shaping a universe of proportions and
lightings. Speed is flexibility and polarization, the faster a
system the worse the return until it reaches critical mass and
the connection is broken, the disintegration makes the infor-
mation part of a larger event’s frequency. Perfect symmetry
would negate the negation stopping everything but that’s

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Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

impossible, causes the heating up and exponential inflation
(only social reciprocity can fully negate this area). Certainty is
predictability, uniformity and recognition and uncertainty is
unpredictability, ignorance and volatility, it opens a passage to
the unknown and causes erosion, therefore any incursion or
reach into the unknown generates proportional instability and
vulnerabilities to a general integrity.

Acceleration makes the negation area expand increasing
the resistance; the subject occupies more space which requires
the critical mass to adjust. Like a sound barrier, time and en-
ergy start moving in opposite directions generating the en-
ergy vacuum until there is no time between point A and B.
Pressure has to add up, speed changes the equation and the
subject is crushed or floats up decompressing (in the absence
of learning). The event stretches until the stability band breaks,
literally producing a tear in the energy-time continuum, a place
that heats up as the boundaries that define the event meet in a
single point. Time shrinks and stops, the energy ceases being
part of the system’s life and its aging process, and becomes part
of a different event. The demand gets farther ahead the faster
you go and overwhelms the capacity causing the system to lose
integrity releasing energy.
This forces things to internalize the environment or be ab-
sorbed by the environment, setting the stage for chemical
reactions, synthesis, digestion, etc. Consequently manipulat-
ing critical mass in reference to a performance horizon gener-
ates movement; reducing the mass produces acceleration and
adding mass slows it down, basically controlling volume and
contractions.

Energy, friction and decadence are connected very tightly,
in fact they are part of all information cycles, friction locates
balance and generate energy, like a universal molecule. That
is because it is all the effects of pressure and the antagonism,

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ESSAYS

the negation of the negation and the recovery of time. This
also means that the environmental demand is proportionally
adjusted curving the performance and slowing down the dis-
placement of energy (reducing resistance, making things easier,
etc.). Energy always generates a demand; the bigger the struc-
tures the bigger the energy required, which defines resistance
and forces everything to precision, and when it is fixed in place
with purpose becomes function, energy cycles we know as co-
operation, symbiosis and agglutination…generating traction
with minimum antagonism.

It forces life to get just what it needs, build it only as big
as necessary, the more successful species eliminating most un-
necessary antagonism, as opposed to using maximum energy
to generate traction. Therefore evolutionary adaptations only
work within a margin of error, otherwise generating a loss of
energy and diminished capacity. The capacity and the demand
could enter into the negative chain reaction that produces the
abnormal developments and decadence (which is unresolved
antagonism).

Without the resistance to curb the performance energy is
spent, accelerated by forward momentum and pulled back by
gravity, and generally falling behind the pace, which generates
a tendency to pick up dead weight. For life that means defor-
mities rather than growth, and moving in the wrong direction.
Since everything is interconnected stability is a statistical per-
centage, human society makes the species an organism without
an inherent rate of decadence. The mathematical principle is
locating the target of stability by adjusting the center of gravity
which improves with certainty and definition. For life enrich-
ment is generally the manipulation of energy in anticipation of
a degree of difficulty which also becomes growth.

The significance attached to the relationships gener-
ates pressure and produces the structures. It displaces energy

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Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

looking for stability and can focus within a margin of error
defined by the relevant information. The target moves and
the focus closes or more energy is necessary to provide the
flexibility (widen the scope to more variables). Extreme special-
ization removes more variables but severs other relationships,
takes them out of the range of possibilities, so it only makes
sense if is necessary, after all it is the result of instability, and
more energy comes with other liabilities. It is, like everything,
always bound by the universal performance which we have
also identified as the learning curve and diminishing returns.

Agglutination allows for growth within critical parameter,
incorporating information with minimum effort and taking ad-
vantage of enrichment and momentum, so it could only happens
within structural limits. It is determined by degree of compati-
bility, a positive energy ratio in relation to the friction produces
the demand, the bigger the discrepancy the stronger the pull or
contraction. When bonding occurs energy is released or absorbed
bending the trajectory until the head meets the tail again. The
performance adjust to resets the energy-time ratio that is essen-
tial for all things to function, process information and sustaining
life. It dictates the properties of the elements and life’s behavior,
and generates a pattern of agglutination throughout the uni-
verse. The reaction is modified in the interaction according to
structural boundaries, too much energy generates more antago-
nism and the system loses integrity, not enough and it loses con-
nectivity and information comes to a halt; it’s “freezing” on one
side and “combustion” on the other. Restructuring occurs on
the edges of these relationships, these walls” will force everything
back to efficiency, reorganize or be grinded, shift the weight or
shed the weight, there is no rupture of the universal laws. It is
the area where permanent cycles and life happen.

Oxygen as a simple element at the bottom of the pyramid
has more bonding capacity and energy potential but is also

44

ESSAYS

equally corrosive. The Oxygen CO2 relationship is balanced
in cycles between animal and plant life. This also gives water is
properties and makes it ideal for synthesizing energy.

For life it means movement and managing resources, and
specific ratios between a capacity and the demand. The target
of stability is turned it into a purpose and the demand becomes
a necessity, making the mathematical laws and focus work its
favor, determining the inevitable and turning the energy ad-
justment into the ability to perform a well-defined task, pre-
cision and repetition into process, and specialization into a
learning ability. This produces forms and priorities which is
what generates the capacity reducing friction and the liabilities,
(and the innumerable adjustments involved in a free throw in
basketball).

Energy comes at a stability cost; in general it is deflected,
absorbed or dispersed to relieve tension; agglutination and
fragmentation are the ways energy is general adjusted. It allows
living organisms to extract energy from the environment and
balance the equation over several steps, using mechanisms like
procreation and larger societies to achieve stability, therefore
individuals have a rate of decadence not the human species.
Life manipulates pressure, space and time to expand and grow,
using energy only in that context.

This creates horizontal cycles in relative stability, like
human society and cooperation and others faster geometrical
relationships like selective breeding all the way up to a vertical
limit where the connection breaks and the environmental de-
mand is displaced generating the capacity-demand chain reac-
tion where it falls to the next generalization. Achieving balance
which comes in many forms; we also know it as quality, lon-
gevity and justice. Human’s moral conscience and assessment is
one of the best exponents of the tendency to balance in behavior
(A unique adaptation that makes integrity especially important)

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Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

Sustainability is finding the area where information
doesn’t have to change form due to friction or is returned to
its original state, and life is a constant struggle between re-
taining the significant information and learning. There is a line
where the loss of energy that cause the inflammation of soft
tissue, brittle bones, arthritis and other signs of aging or even
disease is reduced, which has to do with diet, weight and level
of activity, too much sugar generates friction and not enough
activity reduces the capacity to process energy for instance. This
reactions end up generating progressive structural decay and
morbid relationships.

There are more constants than variables in the universe,
which is consistent with structural boundaries and the param-
eters that order and connect the information. This generates
clusters of information that take on a more or less absolute
value and define the systems. Agglutination acts as a spring
board and produces energy pulsations due to capacity demand
relationships, which probably makes life part of the general
condition of the information, a reaction produced by the di-
minishing return and the need for balance which generates a
pace. The structure determines a positive ratio in the transfer of
energy with critical negative parameters, tension, temperature
and boiling points.

Tension is the universal coagulator, friction causes the
information bend in a kinetic contraction releasing energy.
Capacity- demand dynamics manifests as a pulse around areas
where certainty is shared to a certain degree correlating the
mass. These cycles reflect the superlative pressure but are also
connected to imperative cycles. This is consistent with the
heart critically located about two thirds of the way up in the
body, at that level the heart is linking everything to a pre-
dominant rhythm for optimal performance. This systems su-
persede others to form a new unit with more absolute value,

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ESSAYS

like the electrical impulse and the planets orbits the proximal
and distal demands are equally relevant. Other systems achieve
more certainty and agglutinate around values that provides a
wider range of motion, like human society.

Some phenomena just happen in the same relative areas
generating similar patterns, but we are constantly suppressing
pressure and moving between nodal points. Life reaches out
only for consistency and grows when there is a qualitative de-
velopment, where the relative tension is reduced in relation to
a general performance. During each heartbeat, blood pressure
varies between a maximum (systolic) and a minimum (dia-
stolic) pressure, reflecting a general environmental demand
and a capacity largely dictated by its own integrity. Pressure
generates an expansion of the volume forcing information
to be absorbed, when the polarization changes and the ca-
pacity and demand reverse trajectories the tension causes to
release energy, generating more capacity if learning occurs or
increasing the pressure. A qualitative change along this line
might’ve started life itself when it internalized the instinct to
curve the diminishing return, which also stablishes another
cycle in the genders.

The tendency to balance generates a center of stability
and critical boundaries, the capacity, or response time, is the
result of these relationships. That is, the maximum amount of
energy that can be invested within the ability to restore sta-
bility, concentric cycles that produce movement. This process
creates multiple loops of information, complex relationships
and priorities subject to a general tension, resulting in physical
and emotional pain thresholds, nodal points and parameters of
equilibrium reflective of stability. This makes the species only as
strong as their weakest connection, combining several sources
of energy generates more flexibility and capacity, becoming
one of life’s tendencies as is climbing the evolutionary latter

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Adelaide Literary Award Anthology 2018

tapping into more efficient and permanent cycles. But these
are sensitive systems which take millions of years to evolve and
when energy is introduced in unnatural ways whole ecosystems
can be destroyed, balance is literally broken.

As you get away from any point in space in every direc-
tion the variables multiply exponentially and information loses
meaning; one cause produces multiple effects and no perma-
nent systems. Only in increments of about fifty percent we can
produce enough certainty, and end up with eighty to ninety
percent for minimum structural integrity. At a sub-atomic
level the information can potentially spread every directions
and it does not have an internal source of energy, so it starts
from zero to infinite. Energy has to come from an external
source which should generates two trajectories, a very short tra-
jectory determine by the systems particles and a long trajectory
determine by other universal constants. This negation takes
place on a larger scale where the event is more predictable, and
subject to a critical mass.

It’s the formula leading to a single point that makes in-
formation take on a meaning and materialize, definition is
stability and focus, generating context and the points of ref-
erences, and turning symmetry into equilibrium. Antagonism
is ambiguity, it blocks the information which breaks up and
bounces back splitting in two first and in multiple pieces later,
producing the expansion of the environment. Excessive antag-
onism is unsustainable, it nullifies, blocks and holds in place,
and can produce catastrophic results. Everything would just
collapse without circling around to release pressure. The need
for precision and the unity of opposites produces the basic
performance with the three points of contact, and the neutral
area with space absolute value connected to the positive, the
center of gravity that also creates the articulation to a larger
system. This makes things generally unfold in three stages pro-

48


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